Do Presidential Candidates Lack Influence?

Our study of 580 people found that, despite their cries for change, 45 percent of Americans don’t believe presidential candidates have the power to change the issues that matter most to them. Specifically, the three most pressing issues respondents don’t believe candidates can change are terrorism, global warming, and the federal budget deficit.

According to the research, Americans’ cynicism toward the 2008 presidential candidates was a result of society’s inability to influence change. Influence is something everyone struggles with, and powerful politicians are no exception. The lack of a comprehensive change strategy was the most cited reason for presidential candidates’ inability to create change. Candidates will need a lot more than inspiring rhetoric and track records of success to convince voters they can effect real change.

Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change teaches that creating change requires more than throwing extra resources or more money at problems. Influencer includes examples of influencers who have solved major world problems such as: preventing more than five million cases of AIDS in Thailand; eradicating a debilitating disease in 11 countries in Africa; and rehabilitating more than 14,000 hardened criminals.

Some of these influencers had political power behind them, most did not. But one thing they had in common was that they used the same set of powerful skills to bring about profound change. The good news is it is possible to change persistent and resistant problems. As soon as political leaders acquire the skill set to assemble an influence strategy as big as the problem they’re trying to tackle, they will make change inevitable and increase voters’ confidence.

The Six Sources Of Influence

  1. Personal Motivation – overcome your own reluctance and resistance
  2. Personal Ability – learn how to master the necessary skills for success
  3. Social Motivation – enlist help from leaders or other opinion leaders
  4. Social Ability – leverage teamwork
  5. Structural Motivation – reward your early successes
  6. Structural Ability – surround yourself with a supportive physical environment

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